Comoro Islands
Federal Islamic Republic of the Comores
April 12
Africa


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GEOGRAPHY

Area 1,862 sq.km. Poor agricultural land but rich marine life in the surrounding seas. Four larger volcanic islands between Madagascar and Mozambique. The Comores declared itself independent from France in 1975, but one island voted to remain a French overseas territory. The Comores still claims Mayotte as part of its territory.

Population Ann.Gr. Density
2000 592,749 +2.81% 318 per sq. km.
2010 766,305 +2.49% 412 per sq. km.
2025 989,515 +1.31% 531 per sq. km.

Capital Moroni 31,187. Urbanites 31%.

PEOPLES

Comorian 96.7%. Mixed Arab, African and Malagasy ancestry.

Minorities 3.3%. Makua 12,000; Malagasy 8,000; Réunionese 800; Arab 500.

Literacy 57%. Official languages Arabic, French. Three dialects of Comorian Swahili are widely spoken. Languages with Scriptures 2Bi 1NT 1por.

ECONOMY

Underdeveloped, poor and overpopulated. The major exports being perfumes and spices (vanilla, cloves), but the collapse of world prices for these commodities has depressed the economy. Only about 7,000 are in paid employment. HDI 0.506; 139th/174. Public debt 87% of GNP. Income/person $450 (1.2% of USA).

POLITICS

A one-party state until 1990, when multi-party democratic government was instituted. There have been 19 coups and attempted coups since independence, some involving foreign mercenaries and French military intervention. The two islands, Nzwani and Mwali declared themselves independent in 1997 and despite a successful military coup in 1999, abrogation of the constitution and declaration of a looser federal structure has not unified the country.

RELIGION

All open witness is forbidden in this Islamic state.

Religions Population % Adherents Ann.Gr.
Muslim 98.07 581,309 +2.8%
non-Religious/other 1.09 6,450 +1.3%
Christian 0.84 4,979 +3.1%

Christians Denom. Affil.% ,000 Ann.Gr.
Protestant 4 0.14 1 +2.5%
Independent 3 0.07 0 +0.5%
Catholic 1 0.63 4 +1.8%
Marginal 1 0.00 0 +5.0%

Churches MegaBloc Cong. Members Affiliates
Catholic C 3 2,181 3,750
Malagasy Protestant P 2 365 730
Indigenous Comorians I 2 100 300
Jehovah's Witnesses M 1 10 20
Other denoms [5]   2 190 200
Total Christians [9]   10 2,846 5,000

Trans-bloc Groupings pop.% ,000 Ann.Gr.
Evangelical 0.1 1 +1.6%
Pentecostal & Charismatic 0.1 1 +1.7%

Challenges for Prayer

1 Almost the entire population is Muslim. There are 780 mosques but no official Comoran churches. They were almost completely unevangelized before 1973. Although Muslim, most are deeply involved in occult practices and spirit possession. Yet many young people are disillusioned with life in Islamic society which offers so little hope. Even today, open Christian witness is forbidden, so intercede for the opening of this land for God's Word.

2 The quiet witness of Christian medical and veterinary workers in the Republic and on Mayotte has won credit and public honour as well as opportunities to share the Lord Jesus with the people. Pray for continued and increased opportunities for witness and that such may bear fruit.

3 Comoran believers have gradually increased in number – mainly on Njazidja and Nzwani (Anjouan). They have suffered periods of harassment and persecution, and are deprived of many social and civil privileges. They need earnest prayer that they stand firm in the faith. Pray that leaders may be raised up for the several groups of believers.

4 The majority of Christians are Catholic Réunionese, Malagasy and French and some Protestant Malagasy. Pray for their tactful witness – there are severe penalties for openly distributing Bibles and Christian literature or seeking to proselytize Muslims.

Departmental Collectivity of Mayotte

GEOGRAPHY

Area 373 sq.km. One larger island Grande Terre and one smaller Petite Terre.

Population Ann.Gr. Density
2000 101,621 +2.46% 272 per sq. km.
2010 129,559 +2.46% 347 per sq. km.
2025 186,507 +2.46% 500 per sq. km.

Actual population in 2000 may be nearer to 145,000.

Capital Dzaoudzi 7,600. Capital designate: Mamoudzou 25,000. Urbanites 60%.

PEOPLES

Comorian 95.1%. shiMaore 85,000; shiBushi 42,600; Other Comorian 13,000.

Other 4.9%. French 3,000; Malagasy 1,000; Réunionese 200.

Literacy 32%. Official languages French; shiMaore (the local Swahili dialect) and shiBushi (a Malagasy dialect).

ECONOMY

Limited natural resources or exportable commodities, yet more prosperous than the rest of the Comores through French aid and military base. Over-population and illegal immigration from other islands hinder progress.

POLITICS

French rule is challenged by the Comoran government, but neither the local people nor the French administration have shown much enthusiasm for change, nor for welcoming back the two rebel islands of the Comores to French rule. The islanders voted to become a French Departmental Collectivity in 2000.

RELIGION

Almost all Comorans, most Africans and some Malagasy are Sunni Muslim, but mosque attendance is low.

Religions Population % Adherents Ann.Gr.
Muslim 96.50 98,064 +2.4%
Christian 2.90 2,947 +3.2%
non-Religious/other 0.60 610 +6.3%

Christians Denom. Affil.% ,000 Ann.Gr.
Protestant 1 0.17 0 +2.4%
Independent 1 0.04 0 +15.0%
Catholic 1 1.97 2 +3.3%
Marginal 1 0.15 0 +6.1%
Unaffiliated   0.57 0 n.a.

Churches MegaBloc Cong. Members Affiliates
Catholic C 4 1,198 2,000
Malagasy & other Prot P 2 85 170
Other denoms [5]   1 89 188
Total Christians [9]   7 1,372 2,358

Trans-bloc Groupings pop.% ,000 Ann.Gr.
Evangelical 0.1 0 +8.5%
Pentecostal & Charismatic 0.2 0 +3.6%

Challenges for Prayer

1 The Muslim majority. Although there is religious freedom and direct evangelism is permitted, outreach has concentrated on the Maore and response has been slow. Pray for the barriers to come down and hearts to be opened. Pray for new initiatives planned for the unreached shiBushi speakers.

2 The change in political status in 2000 will result in massive French investment and will challenge traditional values and society. Pray that this may become a window of opportunity for the gospel, too.

3 The only organized Protestant churches in the Comores are two evangelical groups among the Malagasy on Grand Comore and Mayotte, Assemblies of God on Mayotte, and isolated Christians elsewhere. Pray for the right church-planting strategy to be applied enabling the relatively few mature Maore believers to easily integrate while retaining their cultural ties with the majority.

4 Expatriate workers – pray for their witness on Mayotte and other islands, and for an increase in their number.

5 Support ministries for prayer:

a) Bible translation continues in two languages. AIM workers also run a literacy programme to encourage the reading of the shiMaore NT which was completed in 1995.

b) RadioFEBA broadcasts to the islands 10 hours/week in French and 3 in Swahili.

c) The JESUS film has been dubbed in shiMaore. Pray for the strategic use of this film on all four islands.

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